New subdivision named in honor of Vancouver United Methodist couple by Evergreen Habitat for Humanity

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The Evergreen Habitat for Humanity has begun work on a new subdivision of homes on the east side of Vancouver, Washington. The subdivision will be named Johnson Village in honor of Ray and Harriet Johnson, who helped to establish the Evergreen Habitat for Humanity as an affiliate in the 1990s and continued to serve in a variety of ways for decades. 

“Through countless volunteer hours, generous monetary support, and dedicated prayer, the Johnsons have helped to create in each and every iteration of our organization,” reads a statement on the project. Another honor established in 2008, the Ray Johnson Award, has been used annually to recognize a person who demonstrates dedication and passion for helping further Habitat’s mission.

The Johnsons were also cornerstone members of First United Methodist Church in Vancouver, Washington, for over 60 years before their passing. Harriet died in December of 2020, with Ray following her, passing on November 8, 2021. While the Johnson’s involvement in the church extended far beyond Habitat, their active support helped cement the church’s engagement with continued donations and service on Habitat committees. 

Ray Johnson pictured at work during a service opportunity.

By late January, construction crews were busy establishing the infrastructure of the new subdivision expecting it to be completed this month. Construction plans for nine homes that will constitute Johnson Village will also be submitted soon. While volunteer work parties from First UMC have been suspended due to COVID, members expect to be engaged in the building of Johnson Village starting this spring. They also look forward to being in a supportive relationship with the families who will be blessed with ownership of these homes.

The Johnson’s legacy of generosity and service extends far beyond their work with Habitat for Humanity. Ray served on the board of the Vancouver Methodist Foundation for over three decades, and for two of those, served as its president. He helped the foundation grow into a highly regarded organization providing Christian charitable giving across a spectrum of scholarships, international missions, community nonprofits, and in support of First UMC’s ministry. “The Foundation’s resources grew substantially under Ray’s leadership, and his legacy gave the Foundation its heart and soul that continues today,” wrote church lay leader Anita Jinks.

They also supported other projects and ministries with impact beyond Vancouver, leading work parties to Ocean Park United Methodist Camp to improve and add to the facilities there. Scholarships through the Vancouver Methodist Foundation supported both elders and deacons who have served in ministry across the conference. 

“The financial support of the Vancouver Methodist Foundation it possible for me to explore ministry and then pursue an M.Div.,” shared the Rev. Cara Scriven, lead pastor at Puyallup United Methodist Church. “The Johnson’s encouragement and support were more than financial, and I carry it with me in my ministry today.”

“It goes without saying that we would not be what we are today without the Johnsons, and last year gave us an opportunity to honor them in the best way we know how: by building more homes for more families,” says the Evergreen Habitat for Humanity of the Johnson Village project. For lives spent in service to others, it is hard to imagine a better way to recognize their legacy.

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